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Antique or Junque: Family Treasure Rocks

Anne Mccollam on

Q: I have enclosed a photo of an antique rocker that has been handed down in our family. It belonged to our great-grandmother. She passed away in the late 1930s, so it must be close to 100 years old. It is oak, and it has the original leather seat and decorative carving on the back.

Our rocker is a family treasure. We always refer to it as "Grandma Renner's rocker." We would never part with it, but we'd like to know more about its history. Anything you can tell us about our rocker will be appreciated.

A: You have a golden oak rocker with a pressed back. Golden oak is the term for 1800s and early 1900s furniture that was created by adding coats of orange shellac. The technology that evolved during the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s transformed society and the economy. Machines were developed that allowed furniture factory workers to quickly produce multiple parts. The design on the back of your rocker was not carved by hand. Designs were created by rolling a steel die with sharp edges under extreme pressure. Some were made by rolling across the wood once, or sometimes twice. The new technology enabled factories to produce large amounts of furniture cheaply and quickly. Pressed back furniture appealed to families with modest incomes in both cities and rural areas. Many pieces were available in mail order catalogs including Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Larkin Co.

Your golden oak rocker was made around 1900 and would probably be worth $225 to $425.

Q: This mark is on the bottom of a pitcher that I have. It is decorated with pastel blossoms and green leaves against a dark green, matte glaze, and it stands about 7 inches tall.

I hope you can provide information on my pitcher.


A: Edward Stellmacher Pottery Co. made your pitcher. The pottery was located in Turn-Teplitz, Bohemia (now the Czech Republic.) The mark represents an amphora, an ancient Greek or Roman vessel that had two handles and a narrow neck. It held either liquid (olive oil) or grain. This mark was used from 1905 to 1912.

Your circa-1900 vase would probably fetch $275 to $375 in an antiques shop.


Address your questions to Anne McCollam, P. O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Items of a general interest will be answered in this column. Due to the volume of inquiries, she cannot answer individual letters. To find out more about Anne McCollam and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com


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